Rocking The Medical Routine Boat
So yesterday I had a challenging experience. I had to visit my oncologist. At his new clinic.
Hopefully some other long-time survivors can relate with me so I don’t sound like a total patient-snob. But, after you’ve gotten used to your “medical routine,” it’s hard when it’s changed. Whether you’re going to a new place, have a new nurse, or heaven forbid, get a new doctor – those changes are hard. And although I knew to expect changes yesterday, I didn’t expect to be affected by them so much.
There were probably some really legitimate changes that can be made to the new clinic to make the patient experience better. I’ve got a great doctor who actually took down notes after he saw the flustered look on my face as he walked in the exam room. But even getting past some of those things, I tried to really figure out why I was so startled yesterday. And I decided this: The reason I’m there in the first place is unsettling enough.
I try to be go-with-the-flow as much as I can. But for some reason I was really, really not up for changes yesterday. I didn’t like going to a new office, nor the new check-in procedure. I wasn’t crazy about anything really – and I knew my poor attitude was stemming from something bigger than the fact there were no magazines in my patient room. I was struggling because I like security, and the reason I’m sitting there is very insecure.
Thankfully, my doctor is a gem and he really did care about my experience and will try to make it better. Having him come in, know my past 10 years history and tell me what’s next, was comforting. And to add another positive – a nurse came in and remembered me from when I was 17, so I didn’t have to explain why I was a 27-year-old colon cancer patient – major bonus points.
In the end, I guess my hope for sharing my story is two-fold:
– For any medical practitioners out there to see the patient’s point of view sometimes. Remember that while you may be making small changes in your world, they may be big changes in your patient’s world. You and your staff offer security to your patients and their families, security that they may not be feeling anywhere else. So while you have all rights to make changes to anything, make them slowly, communicate a lot, and be understanding at how it’s taken. And make sure it’s very clear how much they will owe at the time of their visit.
– To kick myself in the butt, and challenge myself to be more flexible. To find my security in things outside of my medical routine. And to remind myself that although I’m driving to a new clinic with new people and new routine, that doesn’t mean that my whole world has to turn upside down. Maybe I’ll actually come to like this new place one day.